Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Post and Courier editorial on importance of safe bike routes


Bicycles an unexpected source of help in disaster


Post and Courier, Charleston, SC
November 19, 2012
Section: Editorial / Opinion 


Victims of a natural disaster like Superstorm Sandy yearn to see power trucks coming to repair lines; bulldozers coming to clear debris; and gas trucks coming to replenish supplies. Bicycles are likely not high on their list.
But maybe they should be.


During a crippling earthquake in Japan in March 2011, people discovered that bikes can go where cars and trucks can't go, even if they had gas to operate them.


And while no one would say they were game changers, bicycle brigades bearing supplies fanned out in the wake of Sandy to hard-to-reach areas. Limited supplies, yes. But unlimited appreciation from people who needed the water and diapers and flashlights they delivered.


In the Lowcountry, biking is still mostly for recreation and commuting to and from work and school.


But elsewhere cargo bikes have become popular with people who want to pedal to the grocery store or to pick up children from school.


The city of Portland, Ore., is encouraging people with cargo bikes to get training and disaster supplies so that they can be of service in the event of a disaster.


We certainly hope those supplies will not be needed in Portland or in the Charleston area.


But we can add one more item to the list of reasons to make this area more accessible to bicycles. And if we continue to dodge disasters, the paths and lanes will be well used nevertheless.


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